Animal Justice Auckland is the forerunner to an Animal Justice Party that we aim to have registered for the 2023 election.
Our three overarching principles are justice for animals, justice for the environment and justice for humans.
All these principles are relevant to our plan to revitalise the whole of Auckland, from Warkworth to Pukekohe and from Manukau Heads to Great Barrier Island.
The Animal Justice Party will preserve Auckland's green space and expand it.
Concrete in the city centre will be replaced with greenery. This will attract bird and other native wildlife. It will provide cool, quiet areas for people to unwind, children to play in, and adults to enjoy the scenery. We will confine development to areas with little or no biodiversity.
Public transport will be free, and where practicable dogs will be allowed on trains and buses. We plan to make the city safer and more accessible to cyclists, pedestrians and those taking alternative transport such as rental scooters or electric skateboards. Adding more pedestrian crossings and light-controlled crossings could be done cheaply but will make a huge difference to road safety.
Public transport will be expanded for areas such as South Auckland that are under-served at present. Improved access for those who for whatever reason can't or won't drive a private motor car will certainly help provide a more inclusive city.
Research has shown congestion is not solved by adding yet more roads. The number of cars increases to fit. Encouraging non-car transport will reduce greenhouse gas and particulate matter. Those who rely on a private car for transport will also benefit from the less congested roads.
Non-car transport can be funded by a levy on developers that go towards sustainable transport, not car parking. This will also be an incentive for developers to build with people and not cars in mind.
Ease of access and promotion of human-friendly development will revitalise not only the city centre but iconic suburban centres such as Panmure and old Papatoetoe. The character of these historic settlements has been damaged by huge car-centric shopping malls such as Sylvia Park and Westfield Manukau. A change in transport and planning priorities will replace soulless concrete deserts with diverse and vibrant community centres.
Most people can't afford Gucci, Louis Vuitton and the other expensive Queen St stores.
A more equitable way to get Aucklanders to participate in all the Super City has to offer will be to promote local events, marketplaces, pop-up retail and small specialised stores.
We will encourage street theatre, busking, free or affordable concerts and similar events. These are what attract people into city and suburban centres. When I was last in central Auckland for example, I thoroughly enjoyed a free concert of African music outside the Ellen Melville Centre.
Free public transport will mean greater mobility for those on low incomes to enjoy the atmosphere. Numbers on public transport are already up, following the halving of fares. Further discounting should bring even more people into the city and surrounding areas.
Street stalls, markets, events and conventions are positive externalities. They add to atmosphere and vibrancy, so could even be subsidised through rates rebates or similar incentives.
Gambling venues such as the casino, on the other hand, are negative externalities. They are like an economic black hole, sucking money away from the local economy. They encourage problem gambling and misery. We need to find ways to curb the power of these economic parasites. Letting money flow through the community, instead of behemoth corporations, would certainly help its vibrancy.
The Covid-19 lockdowns forced many to work from home. When the lockdown ended, people realised they preferred it that way. Employers also liked not having to rent out huge office spaces. This is the future of work. A sustainable and less stressful future that frees up time and money for workers and employers alike.
Read the other candidates' views:
• Gary Brown: Ideas aplenty to kickstart the city
• Craig Lord: We have changed and Auckland needs to change as well
• Leo Molloy: Auckland got lost because it didn't know where it was going
• Wayne Brown: Fixing up downtown means finishing what we've started
• Viv Beck: Let's back ourselves to make things happen
• Efeso Collins: Bringing hope back will revitalise Auckland
• Ted Johnston: A competent and effective council with a wise leader
• John Lehmann: Let's reconnect Auckland Council, the ratepayers, and the public
The old days of city businesses relying on the disgorgement of huge numbers in and out of a few central business districts every weekday are over.
We need to adapt to the new style of working. The AJA policies will ensure that the Auckland city centre will be reimagined as an attractive and vibrant place, replete with nature.
We need diverse cities that welcome everyone from the entire Auckland community, not just those who can afford name brand accessories and gambling.
• Dr Michael Morris is an Auckland mayoral candidate for Animal Justice Auckland.